Halloween Hazards: 6 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe This Season

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Halloween is right around the corner, which means tricks and treats galore!  But while you’re having fun enjoying the holiday, here are a few things to look out for to keep your dog safe and sound during the spookiest time of the year:

Chocolate

chocolate

Whether you’re accompanying your children for some trick-or-treating excitement, or simply keeping a bowl of goodies by your door for the inevitable costumed kids who come a-knocking, odds are chocolate and other sweets play a pivotal role in your Halloween experience.  Keeping these tasty treats out of reach of your dog is very important for a number of reasons.  Chocolate, while delightful for humans, is toxic for dogs, and can lead to severe health problems such as increased heart rate, and in some cases, seizures.  While it’s never a good idea to allow your dog to eat any kind of chocolate, a general rule of thumb is that the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for your dog to ingest.  If your pup eats a single M&M, for example, he’ll probably avoid any serious repercussions.  But if he gets into a larger amount of chocolate, especially dark or cooking chocolate, it’s important to get it out of his system right away.  If you catch him in the act, you can induce vomiting yourself.  However, if you notice the chocolate is missing, and are unsure how long it has been since your dog ate it, it’s important to contact a veterinary professional right away.  Symptoms of chocolate consumption in dogs includes vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, agitation, and increased thirst.  If you notice any of this behavior, or if your dog just doesn’t seem like himself, and you notice that your chocolate stash is smaller than you remember, it’s probably a good idea to get Fido checked out.

Other Candy

candy corn

While the ingredients in other types of candy are not necessarily inherently dangerous to your dog when eaten in moderation, if your pup manages to ingest a large amount of any sweets, it may cause him to get quite sick.  Some of the main health risks involved with a high intake of sugary sweets are pancreatitis, kidney failure, and damage to other internal organs.  During the Halloween season, be sure to keep an eye out for any decrease in appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or abdominal pain in your dog, any of which may be a symptom of sugar ingestion.  As with chocolate consumption, you know your dog better than anyone, and can tell when he just isn’t acting like himself.  If you notice any of these symptoms, or that your pup is acting out of character, and think Fido may have gotten into some candy, be sure to get him checked out by a veterinarian right away.

Candy Wrappers

candy wrappers

Unfortunately, the risks involved with trick-or-treating candy are not limited to the candies themselves.  Ingesting candy wrappers can cause serious bowel obstructions that often require surgical intervention, which can be rough on both your dog and your wallet.  Symptoms of candy wrapper ingestion include vomiting, decreased appetite, lethargy, not defecating, or straining to defecate.

Raisins

raisins

Some households will go for a healthier option come trick-or-treat time.  While raisins may be nature’s candy for humans, very small amounts of raisins (or grapes for that matter) can cause cause dogs to experience kidney failure.  Some dogs are more susceptible to these health issues than others, but unfortunately, the only way to find out where your pup lies on that spectrum is the hard way.  In other words, it’s best to do your darnedest to keep all raisins and grapes well out of reach of your dog, and to get him checked out right away if he ingests them.  Symptoms to watch out for include vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain.

Decorations

decorations

It’s great fun to decorate your home in the Halloween spirit, but it’s important to consider what you’re putting on display and how easy it is for your dog to access it.  Easy-to-reach decorations, or candles, can be eaten or knocked over, which could lead to chocking, foreign body ingestion, electrical shock, or even burns and household fires.  These hazards can be easily avoided by simply erring on the side of caution when decorating your home, and it’s always a good idea to opt for pet-safe products.

Unexpected Noises

trick or treaters

Halloween is characterized by things that go bump in the night, but those aren’t the only noises that might spook your pup this month.  With ringing doorbells, small fireworks and poppers, and intermittent squeals of “Trick or treat” at your door, it’s not uncommon for dogs to become a bit on edge this Halloween, especially when paired with strangers consistently showing up at your door dressed in spooky costumes.  Be sure to take extra precaution by gauging your pet’s typical reaction while greeting visitors, and making a thoughtful decision about perhaps putting up a baby gate, or letting your dog get some me-time in a more secluded area of your home, to make sure he keeps calm amid the chaos.

halloween

Halloween is fun, and there’s really no reason why your pup can’t be a part of the celebration.  Just remember to keep your pup’s safety in mind, first and foremost, and you and Fido are sure to have a spook-tacular time!

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